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Klco Lab: People

Principal Investigator
Jeffery M. Klco, MD, PhDe att

Jeffery M. Klco, MD, PhD
Associate Member
jeffery.klco@stjude.org

Jeff attended Boston College and then obtained his MD and PhD through the MSTP at Washington University in St Louis. He then completed his residency in Anatomic Pathology and fellowship in Hematopathology at Washington University, followed by a post-doctoral fellowship in AML genomics and mouse models with Tim Ley.

Jeff joined the faculty at St Jude in 2014 and was promoted to Associate Member in 2019. He is currently the Medical Director of Hematopathology, Immunopathology and Hematology and the Director of the Division of Hematopathology and Molecular Pathology.

Jeff grew up near Cleveland, Ohio and is still an avid fan of Cleveland sports. He enjoys spending time with his wife and 3 kids.

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Research Staff
Sherif Abdelhamed, PhD

Sherif Abdelhamed, PhD
Staff Scientist
sherif.abdelhamed@stjude.org

Sherif joined the lab in April 2019 as a staff scientist to investigate the genomic and functional characterization of hematological malignancies. He is leading our pediatric MDS research team and studying the functional consequences of germline mutations in SAMD9 and SAMD9L recurrent in our patients. These studies focus on understanding the function of these mutations in promoting malignant hematopoiesis using overexpression and genetically engineered mouse models. Sherif also helps coordinate the St. Jude pediatric AML patient-derived xenografts repository.

Sherif got his pharmacy degree from Cairo University and received his PhD in Cancer Biology in 2014 from the University of Toyama, Japan. He focused on drug-resistance in various cancers. As a postdoc trainee, he received a comprehensive training in hematological malignancies in Dr. Peter Kurre’s lab in OHSU. He studied the AML niche and focused on the functional impairment of both the hematopoietic and the stromal compartments by the exosome trafficking of miRNA. Sherif is proficient in molecular and cell biology techniques with a focus on preclinical mouse models. He has a track record of publications on intrinsic and extrinsic pathways involved in cancer pathogenesis. He was awarded several prestigious scholarships, fellowships and personal grants during his career.

Sherif enjoys watching soccer and basketball, playing futsal, and outdoor activities like hiking with his family.

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Alaa Refaat, PhD

Alaa Refaat, PhD
Staff Scientist
alaa.refaat@stjude.org

Alaa joined the lab in April 2020 as a Staff Scientist at the Pathology Department, with a focus on the genomic and functional characterization of pediatric cancers. He had his PhD from Japan in 2011, and since then he expanded his studies in several research institutes in Japan (University of Toyama; Kobe University), Europe (Aston University; Queen's University Belfast; National University of Ireland Galway), and Egypt (Zewail City of Science and Technology).

Alaa has a productive track record of research publications and several grants and fellowships from world-class foundations, notably, the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship (2018), the TAKEDA Science Foundation International Fellowship (2015), the Researcher Links - Newton fund (2015), the Monbukagakushō scholarship from Japan (2008), and others. Alaa’s research focuses on the implementation of experimental models to investigate the underlying mechanistic regulation of AML progression and development. He is also helping coordinate the pediatric AML patient-derived xenografts repository.

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Tami Lamprecht

Tami Lamprecht
Associate Scientist
tamara.lamprecht@stjude.org

Tami was born and raised near St. Louis, MO and received her B.S. from the University of Missouri-Columbia in Animal Sciences. As an undergrad, she found work in an embryology lab where she learned to love bench science and molecular biology.

After stints in the pharmaceutical industry, ophthalmology research (WashU and UW-Seattle), and adult oncology research (WashU), she was presented with an opportunity to be a part of the inception of the Klco Lab. In her current role as Associate Scientist, Tami manages the lab and provides expertise in molecular biology and Next Gen Sequencing methods. Her primary project focuses on the genetic landscape of relapsed AML. In her free time, Tami enjoys reading, biking, and spoiling her rescue dogs.

Ryan Hiltenbrand, MS

Ryan Hiltenbrand, MS
Sr Research Technologist
ryan.hiltenbrand@stjude.org

Ryan was born and raised in Arkansas where she also finished her undergraduate studies in 2012 at the University of Central Arkansas. She was first introduced to working in a research environment during her undergraduate research where she studied plant genetics and molecular biology. She obtained her master’s degree in 2015 from the University of Central Arkansas. Her graduate research was about plant genetic regulation involved in root organogenesis and plant-microbe symbioses. Shortly after that, she worked as a senior research assistant at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center studying pediatric cardiac physio-pathogenesis, specifically the genetic mutations associated with cardiomyopathies and heart failure using murine models and patient-derived materials.

Ryan joined our group in January 2018 as a senior research technologist to work on understanding the functional and mechanistic pathways involved in the development of pediatric myeloid malignancies. Her current experiments focus on modeling NUP98 fusion, frequent in pediatric AML patients, by transducing human cord-blood CD34+ cells with lenti-viral constructs to study the underlying mechanisms. Ryan is a dedicated individual, she enjoys organizing and planning her experiments and learning new things. Beside her work Ryan likes to travel and spend time with her family.

Bright Arthur, MS

Bright Arthur, MS
Sr Research Technologist
bright.arthur@stjude.org

Bright was born in Accra, Ghana. He came to the United States in 2012 to attend philander Smith College where he obtained his bachelor’s degree in biology. His experience as a summer intern at Princeton University and University of Rochester in 2014 and 2015, respectively cemented his passion for translational research. Bright obtained his master’s degree in molecular biology from Princeton University in 2017 and moved to Nashville, TN to work as a research assistant with the Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery.

In January 2020, Bright joined us as a research technologist in a joint position between the Mullighan and the Klco Labs supported by the FusOnc grant. In his current role, Bright works to unravel the molecular mechanisms of NUP98-mediated leukemia and generating NUP98 fusion mouse models. His future goals include successful generation of multiple AML mouse models and drug discovery efforts to identify therapeutic targets. Bright enjoys soccer, basketball and comic books.

Chandra Rolle

Chandra Rolle
Research Technologist
chandra.rolle@stjude.org

A native of Detroit, MI, Chandra matriculated from Howard University with a B.S. degree in Chemistry. After moving from Washington, DC to Memphis, TN, she worked 3 years as Veterinary Assistant Technician, gaining experience with critical patients in the emergency care center. In 2008, she joined St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in the ARC Department as a Husbandry Technician and later became a Technical Services Technician, where she provided services to support research protocols and departmental in-vivo health program. Chandra has several years of experience in performing routine techniques on a variety of laboratory in-vivo species. She also obtained her registered ALAT certification from AALAS.

In February 2020, she joined the Klco lab as a Research Technologist to help with the mouse colony including colony maintenance and mice genotyping as well as to assist other lab scientists with mouse-related projects and experiments. In her spare time, she enjoys a great book, wall climbing and above all, spending quality moments with her family.

Instructors and Trainees
Jason R. Schwartz, MD, PhD

Jason R. Schwartz, MD, PhD
Instructor
jason.schwartz@stjude.org

Jason is currently in his 3 year as a Physician Scientist Instructor after completing the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology clinical fellowship at St. Jude. He is interested in the molecular mechanisms and pathogenesis underlying pediatric myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), specifically those syndromes caused by germline mutations in SAMD9 and SAMD9L. Under the mentorship of Dr. Klco, Jason has described the genomic landscape of pediatric MDS and within this genomic landscape has identified germline mutations in SAMD9 and SAMD9L as a new class of MDS predisposing lesions. Manuscripts describing these analyses have been published in Leukemia and Nature Communications.

Additionally, Jason has worked to describe the genomic landscape of pediatric therapy-related myeloid neoplasms. His future research will focus on using an iPSC SAMD9/9L model system and CRISPRa/i approaches to elucidate what molecular and functional consequences gain-of-function mutations in SAMD9 and SAMD9L have on hematopoiesis. These future studies are funded by an Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation Young Investigator Award and a K08 award from the NHLBI. Jason also has clinical duties in the Bone Marrow Failure Clinic within the Department of Hematology where he participates in the diagnosis and management of patients whose diagnoses include primary MDS and other congenital syndromes that predispose patients to bone marrow failure.

Previous training: Jason completed medical and graduate school training at LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans followed by a general pediatrics residency at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

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Melvin E. Thomas, PhD

Melvin E. Thomas, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Assoc
melvin.thomas@stjude.org

Melvin attended Eastern University for undergraduate school where he obtained his BS in biochemistry with the mentoring of Dr. Jeffery Lawton studying the biochemistry of proteins involved in the plant pathogen Erwinia amylovora. He then was accepted into North Carolina State University for graduate school where he obtained his Ph.D. in Molecular and Structural Biochemistry with the mentoring of Dr. Clay Clark studying caspase-3 structural regulation and allostery.

Melvin joined the lab in 2018 as a Postdoctoral Research Associate and was supported by the Childhood Hematological Malignancies (T32) Training Program award. Additionally, in his second year of postdoc, he successfully received a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Postdoctoral Fellowship (F32) from the NHLBI. His studies focus on understanding the molecular structure and cellular function of SAMD9 and SAMD9L, two proteins involved in the development of pediatric myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). In his career, he looks forward to using the tools of biochemistry to investigate disorders that arise more frequently in people with African ancestry and also has a vision to develop extracurricular programs in STEM for underrepresented middle and high school students from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds.

Masayuki Umeda, PhD

Masayuki Umeda, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Assoc
masayuki.umeda@stjude.org

Masayuki joined the lab as a postdoctoral trainee in May 2020. He is studying the mechanisms of hematological malignancies development as well as the pathways that lead to patients’ relapse. Masayuki graduated from the Faculty of Medicine, Kyoto University in 2011, and worked as a hematologist at Kyoto University Hospital. In 2014, he joined Dr. Yoshinori Yoshida’s lab in the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA) as a PhD student in Kyoto University. His research involved the computational analysis of transcriptome data associated with stem cell differentiation to the hematopoietic and cardiac population. In 2018 he graduated and worked as a researcher in the same lab. Masayuki enjoys commuting on his bike that he brought from Japan as well as cooking on the weekend.


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